Brits Down Under: Burgess brothers power Rabbitohs, Raiders fall short, Graham stars for Dragons

We have taken a look into the performances and statistics of the NRL’s current crop of British players from round nine… 

Ryan Sutton

The untimely injury to John Bateman was a big blow to the Raiders as they sit as a top four contender this season after numerous impressive performances, with the 25-year-old being by far the side’s best player thus far. However, it could mean there is now be a bigger role for Sutton moving forward.

The first game without Bateman always looked tough, especially against Sydney Roosters. The Chooks got off to a hot start inside the first 40 minutes and it was enough in the end to come away with the spoils. The struggles in the first half showing as they failed to make an impression on the game.

It was not to be another 100-metre plus game for Sutton as he was only able to rack up 46 metres from six carries and the Roosters’ dominant first period meant there was a lot called upon in defence. A total of 25 tackles had him as Canberra’s fifth top tackler in the game. Despite their loss, Sutton has been somewhat of a revelation as the season has gone on, putting forth impressive performance after impressive performance in attack and defence. The former Wigan man has the seventh most run metres to his name for Canberra with 720 while having the fifth most tackles in 212. Over the next month, it will still interesting to see how Sutton adjusts moving forward.

Sam Burgess

It now looks as if the Souths are right back to playing the kind of rugby we all know they are capable of after another convincing win over the Cowboys. In weeks prior to the match up, the Rabbitohs did have their struggles, despite coming away with the wins. However, after back-to-back wins over Brisbane and now North Queensland, they stand as of one the league’s most dominant teams this season and are spearheaded by the likes of ‘Slammin Sam’ in a business as usual kind of display.

The forward pack of South Sydney proved too much for the Cowboys as they came away 32-16 winners, with the 30-year-old up to his scarily good old tricks. A standout performance was headlined by nabbing the Souths’ opening try in the 11th minute before going onto make 163 metres from 15 carries.

Can the Bunnies now keep their run going? Time will tell as they face a tougher test in Canberra this weekend.

Elliott Whitehead

Going into any game against Sydney is always going to be difficult, especially when you have a couple of key players missing, and it was to be the case for Whitehead and his Raiders outfit. The 29-year-old second-rower was his own solid self defensively, notching up the third most tackles by a Raiders player with 36. However, it was not to be enough as the Roosters were able to do what they so often do and put a strong foothold on the game in the first half and even with the essence of a comeback in the second half, the Raiders struggled in the running game with only two players surpassing 100 metres and Whitehead himself only being able to conjure up 23.

Despite the blip in the season, the Raiders have no doubt vastly improved their game in attack and on defence with Whitehead as solid and steady as they come in that regard. Even with the loss, he cemented himself as one of Canberra’s top hitmen and now has the second most tackles by a member of the Green Machine with 272, while averaging 30 tackles per game.

Tom Burgess

After a monster game last week, the 27-year-old was able to follow that up this week in the win over North Queensland. It may not have been the 200-metre game that we saw last week but it was still another strong showing from the big man as he finished as his side’s top metre maker for a second straight week with 167.

The bruising front-rower now has the third most metres by any Rabbitohs player with 1,042, only behind Dane Gagai and brother Sam in that regard. However, he lays a claim to a better average at just short of 10 metres per carry and stands as good testament once more to his presence in that prop position.

Josh Hodgson

It just seems par for the course now that Hodgson leads the way in tackles for Canberra and it was the same once again against the Roosters as the 29-year-old racked up 38 tackles, albeit in a losing effort to their toughest opposition so far in Sydney. Despite losing 30-6, at one point Hodgson and Canberra were still able to lead some form of resistance to bring themselves within six points but it was not to be as the Raiders fell short.

The men in lime green still sit in a decent spot though and remain one of the league’s standout teams this season. If Hodgson can remain at the level of which we have seen throughout the season with his exceptional organisation, build-up play and defensive work then a top four spot could definitely be on the cards for the Raiders this season.

James Graham

The veteran prop, alongside Cameron McInnes at dummy half, have been stars for St George Illawarra’s forward pack over the course of this season, despite their side struggling for some form of consistency all round.

For the second week in a row, the Dragons would find themselves on the wrong side of a comeback. They failed to register a point in the second half and felt the wrath of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck and the Warriors before losing 26-18. When you look at the stats, 33-year-old Graham was one of the brighter sparks once again for St George and put forth a game we have come to expect, with 32 tackles alongside 71 metres from eight carries.

The defeat is now a third in the row for Graham and his side now though and they now sit in an uncomfortable tenth place as they still try keep the pressure on a top eight spot. Looking over to next week’s game against Newcastle, it may prove vital in terms of their post season hopes as a resurgent Knights lay one spot ahead in ninth.

George Burgess

The 27-year-old has found it difficult to adjust since returning from a multiple game suspension a few weeks ago and has not been as effective as we know he can be, with his brothers recently heaping the praises.

However, the prop forward’s presence is always felt, and his sheer size will always become a factor as well all know what kind of performance we can expect from him.

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